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"The Storyteller" by Saki (H.H. Munro)
Transcript of "The Storyteller" by Saki (H.H. Munro)
The author of this short story is well renowned during his period for the manner in which he wrote short stories. This is because he incorporated elements of macabre and mischief that created a sense of satrire. This humor referenced the society in which H.H. Munro was raised in (AKA the Edwardian society) (Wiki, 1).
The audience is introduced to a cabin in a train consisting of young children, a older woman (their aunt), and a young bachelor. The train steadily moves along with the simultaneous noises and questions the children would emit. This was accompanied by the aunt's consistent demands for the children to sit down quietly. Based on the evidence from the text this story was written in late 19th and early 20th century. This creates the oppportunity for anything indifferent from social standards to be regarded as wrong, immoral, or even sinful to some degree. Rebellion in the slightest sense was therefore resented greatly by everyone of a certain age. This philosophy is incorportated greatly
within the telling of the stories aimed to entertain young minds at the time.
There is a great deal of tension caused by the excessive amounts of noise the children make, and the bachelor becomes at one point frustrated with this. As an audience it is easy to relate to this situation due to the realistic occurences seen in everyday society.The situation additionally provides the author with the freedome to present the stereotypical mentality of people during this time.In which the children had to be "Good" in order for good things to happen to them. Although the concept can be relatively true it later becomes refuted by the idea and story the bachelor presents.
This character symbolizes the viewpoints of a society in which values and expectations are relative. In this the author eminates the simple and boring concept that all good people or things present immunity towards anything bad as all good things are surrounded by what is synonomous to its nature. "A most improper story to tell to young children! You have undermined the effect of years of careful teaching." (Saki, 69).
The bachelor in this story is easy to relate to and symbolizes a further process of thought which ties into the theme. He also pertains to the rebellious thinker that understands more than the black and grey expectations imparted by society. At the same time he manages to prove a point; "At any rate," said the bachelor, collecting his belongings preparatory to leaving the carriage, "I kept them quiet for ten minutes, which was more than you were able to do." (Saki, 69).
These characters present a naive and impressionalble understanding of the world around them. They are curious and very imaginative, which correlates to their age and thinking capacity. In that same fashion they do not care for what they have been taught consistently over and over, giving leeway to the aesthetic that not every story has a good and happy ending.
The Central Theme
Based on all evidence provided from the elements of the short story, the central theme can be condensed into a simple quote:
"Have no expectation of reward for doing something good, and furthermore bad things can happen to that which is of a good nature."
Setting/Environment in a short story can be defined
as the geogrpahic location and furthermore the period
in which the story unfolds in. This helps the
reader fully comprehend the theme of the story in
relation to the events that occur within the plot.
Mood is an element integrated
within the setting as it depicts the
general emotions or invoked thoughts
of a character(s)/environment. Tone
better describes the authors view or outlook
on a certain subject. In other words it is the outcome of diction which is definitive in the story. This can be seen through the usage of certain words/phrases in regards to that ceratin subject or idea.
In the story there is a person vs person conflict as the ideas and interests of the aunt and bachelor cotrast and contradict greatly. There is the substantial difference also within the fabric of each individuals character and expectations making the quiet interaction between them important in the development of the theme.
Conflict defines the primary, underlying, or additional problem within the story that exists. The spectrum of characters affected by this problem vary base on whether it is a:
- Person vs Person Conflict
- Person vs Self Conflict
-- Person vs Society/Nature Conflict